As one of Miami’s most lively neighborhoods, South Beach has made plenty of cameos on television series, movies, and music videos. But, if you strip back the frozen daiquiri stands, neon signs, and celebrity-helmed restaurants, South Beach is much more than a spring break locale catering to the party crowd. Yes, fast, flashy cars and fantastic people-watching are part of the neighborhood’s distinct personality, but families have plenty of options for activities and attractions designed for kids of all ages. From zip-lining through treetops to an outdoor cinema and 3D museum — plus a Willy Wonka-worthy candy boutique — here are five of the top family-friendly spots in South Beach that guarantee to captivate even those with the smallest attention spans.
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Candy-Flavored Cocktails and Over-the-Top Sundaes at Sugar Factory
The boutique candy shop and brasserie stands out on neon-clad Ocean Drive for its stylish display of decadent treats (think classic candy dispensers plus jars and jars of chocolate bars and lollipops alongside a rubber duck-shaped disco ball). As flashy as the neighboring nightclubs, Sugar Factory is a spot where both kids and adults alike will be satisfied by sweet offerings like the Instagram-famous King Kong Sundae — 20 scoops of ice cream slathered and topped with hot fudge, caramel sauce, chocolate chip cookie crumbles, and every other type of candy imaginable — or smoking goblet cocktails like the Pop Rock-rimmed, lollipop-garnished Sour Apple Lolly Martini. A great spot to stop for lunch or dinner if you’re strolling around the area, Sugar Factory’s nearly endless menu is something everyone can get on board with since you've got creative spins on sports bar faves like buttermilk onion rings and Brooklyn pizza-loaded fries, plus photo-worthy dishes like rainbow burger sliders with Crayola-colored brioche buns.
Outdoor Cinema and Concerts at New World Symphony
A modern beauty tucked between Miami Beach’s iconic Art Deco architecture, the rectangular-shaped, Frank Gehry-designed New World Center, with its 80-foot-high glass curtain wall, is home to the New World Symphony and showcases a variety of concerts and ballets throughout the season. Post up for a picnic in the grass on the adjacent SoundScape Park and watch free WALLCAST live symphonies and dance performances projected on the center’s 7,000-square-foot wall. Throughout part of the year, the park also plays popular movies (rain or shine!) like Jurassic World Dominion and Where the Crawdads Sing, so bring drinks and snacks from the nearby food hall, Lincoln Road Eatery, and have a laid-back dinner on the lawn.
Playgrounds and Paths at Lummus Park
South Beach measures nearly two miles along sandy shores, with pastel-colored, Art Deco lifeguard stands connecting the many beaches. While some can be crowded with hotel beach clubs and pulsating music streaming from nearby pool parties, the 10-block stretch forming Lummus Park is a welcome retreat for families. Running parallel to Ocean Drive, from Fifth Street to 14th Place, the park is lined with paths great for cycling and roller skating (you can rent both here), plus the occasional fitness class or bootcamp. Kids can play on one of the two playgrounds, divided by age (one for tiny tots ages 2 to 5, the other for children up to 12), or hit the sand for a game of volleyball. On the neighboring beach, you can post up with a blanket or towel, or rent chairs and umbrellas if you’d rather be off the sand.
3D Experiences and Interactive Art at the Museum of Illusions
Designed as an experiential escape, with some of the world’s top artists creating 3D illusions based on cartoons, art, movies, and more, the Museum of Illusions allows kids — and adults! — to let their imagination soar. A fun and quick attraction on Lincoln Road (you can breeze through in an hour or so), kids can “fly” on magic carpets and brave lava bridges, while teens 12 and up can decorate and smash plates in a creative stress release activity in the aptly named “Smash It!” room. If you need a rainy-day indoor activity, this is a great one.
Read more: What to See & Do in Miami Beach
Ziplining and Spiderweb Climbs at Jungle Island
While technically not on South Beach, the eco-adventure Jungle Island sits on Watson Island, between Miami Beach and Downtown. The 18-acre park dates back over 80 years and is home to more than 300 birds and other wildlife, like white-faced capuchins and Burmese pythons. Spend the day getting up close and personal with wildlife like kangaroos and sloths on animal encounters or glide through the trees Tarzan-style at South Florida’s first and only aerial zipline adventure park, Treetop Trekking Miami. Learn about flora and fauna in a Florida Everglades replica, or play on climbing ropes, spiderweb climbs, slides, and wooden bridges at the new wooden playground. When you’ve worked up an appetite, dine on Greek-inspired and flamed fare with a view of downtown’s skyline at onsite Joia Beach, a European-inspired beach club and restaurant that allows children in the dining room during the day.